An ingenious plan to put a pop-up pool to their doorstep ensured Delamere Academy pupils were able to continue swimming lessons despite Covid restrictions.
The school decided not to take children to their usual venue because of the extra cost and time that would be involved to properly protect class bubbles and keep everyone safe.
But they would not be deterred from their commitment to make sure every child received lessons in a healthy activity which boosts confidence, fitness and water safety for all.
So Delamere hired a pool and enlisted the help of Ryan Cartwright, a director at nearby Delamere Events, who supplied the venue, power generator and shower facilities.
PE Teacher Tom Freeman says the school will never treat swimming as a second-class subject, particularly in the light of recent research conducted by Swim England and a group of MPs which has warned that the majority of primary school children will be unable to swim a length of a pool by 2025.
Tom Freeman, PE teacher said: “We certainly don’t follow this downward trend. Going from last year’s data we had 100% of children in Years 4-6 who could swim a length of the pool.
“The cost of swimming at our usual venues, and the transport to get there, is prohibitive at the moment due to the need to protect Covid bubbles within the school, so we organised a portable heated pool to be set up outside so all our children can take part in lessons, and they absolutely loved it.”
Headteacher Julie Clayton added: “It was a challenge but the rewards are huge in terms of pupils’ confidence, ability and health.
“For some in our reception class it was their first time in a swimming pool. We are coming across many obstacles, due to the pandemic, but we are determined to give them all the opportunities they’ve missed out on, and more.”
Mr Cartwright added: “I was first asked by Tom about the possibility of my events company lending the school a marquee or similar to be used as changing rooms, and it sounded a very exciting ‘pool-to-school’ project.
“Both my children attend the school and, as I’ve lived locally all my life, I’m always happy to help with anything in our community especially as the children have missed so much due to Covid
“Due to some logistical problems the pool couldn’t be installed in the school’s grounds so I offered our venue free of charge, and it is only a short ride on the school mini bus – the ride actually added to the children’s excitement!
“It was fantastic to hear and see so many happy children enjoying the facility, they were all impeccably behaved and would be welcomed back anytime, they were an absolute credit to the school and a joy to have on site.
“It was astonishing to see how much time they all got in the pool over the two weeks, with a constant stream of children being dropped and collected by the mini bus. It ran like a military operation to prevent any cross over between year group bubbles.
“Apparently, the school itself was a hub excitement so it made everyone’s efforts truly worthwhile!”
Delamere Events is a wedding and events venue based on a private lake off Abbey Lane. For more information email: firstname.lastname@example.org or tel: 07868 514803.
For more information about Delamere Academy email: email@example.com or tel: 01829 707 979.